Stuff that occurs to me

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Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmx DOT com

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Saturday, 23 October 2010

Another reason why I hate DOI

EDIT 3 March 2011 - Ben Goldacre's just tweeted a link to CrossRef which seems to go one step further than resolving DOIs to a clickable link and resolves a citation to a clickable link. Useful.

A friend on Twitter wondered if anyone could get a particular article for them, and it seems I might. If only I could find it quickly.

Clicking on the link given takes me to this page

(Edit 3 March - the page now gives details of which journal and issue the article's published in).

but I need to log in using my account, which means that I'm working in a different tab with a different URL across the top and will have to drill into the different volumes to find it. Pasting that URL in doesn't work (tried it) as the fact that I'm logged in doesn't seem to transfer to that page even when opened within the tab that I'd been previously logged into. So drilling it is...

The information I need, now that I'm logged in to the journal's site, is which copy of the journal I'll find it in such as year, month and in some cases the volume and issue number.

The information given tells me that the article was first published online in July 2010, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's in the July issue.

I have absolutely no idea how to extract any useful information from the bit where it tells you how to cite this:
Tsang, M. and Guy, R. , Effect of Aqueous Cream BP on human stratum corneum in vivo. British Journal of Dermatology, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.09954.x
I have never yet found an article using its doi.

There are other ways of finding the article - I can 'search within this journal' for the article's title or authors but I'm afraid that the purpose of the DOI system eludes me. It seems to present users with an unpleasantly alphanumeric string to type in (if reading something in print and wanting to investigate electronic versions) and doing so in Google doesn't (yet) take you straight to the article (why? WHY?), but if you paste it into a DOI resolver all will be well.

As a touch typist I can handle typing in pretty much anything, but you do have to attend a great deal more to something that complex, compared to a string of words.

I quite enjoy a search challenge and I'm 98% confident that I'll find it within minutes - obviously I'll have to stop bleating on blog posts first - but DOI SCHMEOI...

To be fair it may not yet have been published in the print version, making my bleat a little less relevant, although from looking on the site usually online first articles are print-published within two months.

Anyway... yes, I've found a PDF copy. Mutter mutter grumble.


  1. Yup, me too. DOI is frustrating because it should "just work". It (almost) never does.

  2. Your complaint here seems to revolve around a lack of information on the journal website, not the DOI per se. It is simple to turn any DOI into a resolvable web address (that, after all, is the point), but if the 'home page' for that DOI doesn't provide the information you are after, that is the fault of the publisher, not the DOI oir the DOI issuer.

    Blame Wiley and the lack of information on the abstract page, or their convoluted and unnecessary 'security' procedures, not the DOI (in this case, I accept as a system it is far from blameless).

  3. If you use FireFox, you can install a "custom protocol handler" (see, for an example so that
    pasting doi:10.1234/..... into the browser will resolve automatically. IE can do the same, I believe, but you need to edit the registry :-(

  4. It's also quite easy to write a "bookmarklet" which will take highlighted text such as 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2010.09954.x and feed that to

  5. Thanks for all the comments - I just like a whinge about it every now and again ;)

    I just find "(2009) 14 (1): 32-37" so much easier to follow when I'm looking at journals in reverse (ie go to journal homepage, select year, select volume / issue then pick the relevant article.

    The DOI doesn't let me do that, and when I log into a subscribed journal I've found that I usually have to follow that sequence of steps.

    There's no information in a DOI string - if you come across a printed article which references one then it doesn't tell you much about which issue it's in.


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